Warner Bros. Animation and New Line Cinema are making J.R.R. Tolkien’s anime movie The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim. The film is being produced by Philippa Boyens, who was part of the screenwriting team for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, and she recently talked with about the movie and give some exciting new details!

The story takes place two centuries before the events of Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and it will “explore the exploits of Helm Hammerhand, the King of Rohan, and the creation of Helm’s Deep, the stronghold.” That stronghold was featured in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

The movie is set 183 years before the events chronicled in the original trilogy of films. “A sudden attack by Wulf, a clever and ruthless Dunlending lord seeking vengeance for the death of his father, forces Helm and his people to make a daring last stand in the ancient stronghold of the Hornburg – a strong fortress that will later come to be known as Helm’s Deep. Finding herself in an increasingly hopeless  situation, Hera, the daughter of Helm, must summon the will to lead the resistance against a deadly enemy intent on their total destruction.”

Brian Cox will provide the voice to the Helm Hammerhand, the mighty King of Rohan, who is a character from the Tolkien book’s appendix. He’s joined by Gaia Wise and Miranda Otto, who is set to reprise her role as Éowyn, Shieldmaiden of Rohan, from the original trilogy. She will serve as the tale’s narrator.

Boyens explained that the movie tells a story that is a “very human — and political — struggle.” She went on to say that the film is “not about the Ring, it’s not about the Dark Lord. All of that is very peripheral to the story.”

One of the things that she was attracted to about the story was the examination of honor, revenge, and familial ties — on both sides. “For Helm, there’s madness born of grief from the loss of the child. With Wulf, there’s his relationship with his father, and with Héra.”

The story will also have the historical grudges of the Dunlendings, that the lords of Gondor gave what the Dunlendings felt was their land to the Rohirrim.

Boyens goes on to tease a pivotal moment in the movie saying: “And there’s a moment in the film, which is incredibly gut-wrenching and powerful where Wulf commits himself to a course of action he cannot turn away from. And once he does that, the story darkens.”

The movie is being directed by Kenji Kamiyama (Blade Runner: Black Lotus and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex), and in regards to that point in the film, it’s defined that it was here that screenwriters Phoebe Gittins and Arty Papageorgiou really connected with Kamiyama.

She also explained that the movie will be both epic and claustrophobic: “So, yes, it begins with these quite large-scale battles, but it actually becomes more intense and … claustrophobic.” And then revealed that “the nature of the film changes almost into a ghost story.”

She said: “As the siege takes hold, as the rumors of horror begin to spread. And I can give you a little tease and let you know that, although we said this isn’t about The Ring and this isn’t about the Dark Lord … there are the White Mountains and there are creatures [out there].”

Boyens then added, “Also, I can just add — and I thought it was, again, really interesting in the way that Kamiyama approached this — this was a long, cold winter that was hurting everyone.”

This all sounds so exciting! There’s so much more than Boyens talked about in the interview, and if you want to read that and get some additional details and insight on the movie, head on over to TheOneRing.

Gala Wise (A Walk in the Woods) will play Hammerhand’s daughter Hera, and Luke Pasqualino (Snowpiercer) will portray Wulf. The rest of the voice cast includes Lorraine Ashbourne (Netflix’s Bridgerton), Yazdan Qafouri (I Came By), Benjamin Wainwright (BBC One’s World on Fire), Laurence Ubong Williams (Gateway), Shaun Dooley (Netflix’s The Witcher), Michael Wildman (Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw), Jude Akuwudike (Beasts of No Nation), Bilal Hasna (BBC’s Sparks), and Janine Duvitski (ITV’s Benidorm).

The movie is currently in production at Sola Entertainment, and it will hit theaters on April 12th, 2024.

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